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Half-sister of hammer attack victims committed by Alperton man breaks down in court

PUBLISHED: 13:15 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:15 08 October 2014

Philip Spence attacked the three sisters at the Cumberland Hotel (Pic credit Google Streetview)

Philip Spence attacked the three sisters at the Cumberland Hotel (Pic credit Google Streetview)

Archant

The half-sister of three women who were brutally attacked with a claw hammer during a night time raid on their London hotel room broke down in court as she remembered discovering them covered in blood.

Sisters Ohoud Al-Najjar, Khulood Al-Najjar and Fatima Al-Najjar from the United Arab Emirates, were staying at the four star Cumberland Hotel on a family holiday when they were beaten round the head in a “vicious and sustained” attack and left for dead, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Philip Spence, 32, of Abbeyfrields Close, Alperton, admits grievous bodily harm against the three women but denies attempted murder.

Spence bludgeoned Ohoud, 34, with such force that her skull was split open as her nine-year-old nephew cowered under the sheets next to her, the jury was told.

Sheika Al-Mheiri, the younger half-sister of the women, buried her face and cried when she told jurors she believed Ohoud was dead.

She has missed the attack by minutes, having gone to to visit her brother who was staying on another floor with the lock left on the latch for her return.

As she walked back along the corridor she heard her two nieces screaming from inside the room before she was let in.

“(My niece) had a lot of blood on her night clothes,” she told the court via video link from Abu Dhabi.

“I saw the blood but still I am confused about what’s happening.

“Then I saw her (Ohoud’s) head. Half of her head was damaged, I thought she was dead.”

She then turned to discover her two sisters in the adjoining room lying on the floor passing in and out of consciousness.

“There was blood everywhere so I took the kids out,” she added.

The women had been sharing the room with Khulood’s two daughters aged 11 and seven and her son aged nine.

The first paramedic to treat the three sisters told jurors she had never seen “such excessive violence used before”.

Joanna Griffin, of the London Ambulance Service, described how Ohoud’s skull had been “cracked like an egg” and brain tissue the size of a tennis ball was protruding from her skull.

She told the court: “I’ve never seen anything like that before in my career.

“I assumed it was a huge force to make that kind of injury.

“I’ve been to a lot of incidents where violence has been used, fights, stabbings, shootings, but I’ve never seen a trauma like that before.

“I’ve never seen such excessive violence used before.”

Ohoud, who lost part of her brain, can no longer speak and had to have one eye removed, is never expected to recover from the attack.

Spence is also standing trial for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary alongside Thomas Efremi, 57, from Upper Handa Walk in Islington.

Trial continues.

Related links: Alperton man led hammer attack on three sisters with ‘incredible force’
Alperton man admits hammer attack on three sisters in London hotel


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